Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano SCGardenLearning
Although the winter garden gives the appearance of dormancy, the gardener’s tasks rarely diminish. Winter work in January and February is pivotal to the success of the spring and summer garden. By the time the checklist of chores is accomplished, the vernal equinox will have arrived.
• Since soil is the foundation substrate of the garden, take a soil sample to the county extension office hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/soil-testing/
• Dig deeper into the history of your home property soil from a soil scientist perspective at websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.html
• Uncover the secrets of soil as Buz Kloot introduces basic principles of soil health www.youtube.com/watch? v=cGxr9N7FjkQ
• Encourage soil microbe allies by composting, vermicomposting, and cover cropping.
• Make a map of your garden for planning purposes.
• Rake leaves from lawns since they can smother dormant grasses.
Four season gardener Elliott Coleman designs tools to make gardening easier.• Peruse garden catalogs and order flower, herb, and vegetable seed packets and bulbs.
• Organize seed packets to create a sowing calendar.
• Plant shade and flowering trees, hardy woody vines and shrubs, and ground covers in well prepared holes or beds. Water newly planted specimens thoroughly and regularly.
• Propagate shrubs and vines with dormant cuttings in an outdoor cold-frame or rooting bed sheltered from cold wind and full sun.
• By early February sow summer herb and vegetable seed indoors in soilless potting mix. Record expected germination dates.
• Plant asparagus crowns and onion sets in February.
• Examine stored summer bulbs for rot and evidence of diseases. Discard diseased ones and order new bulbs for summer. oldhousegardens.com.
Invest in red worms to expedite composting. • Clean and sharpen all garden tools.
• Purchase new tools, trugs, and trellises. www.sussextrugs.com.
• Review Elliott Coleman’s original garden tools at www.johnnyseeds.com/featured/eliot-coleman-signature-series/?sz=29
• February is the month for pruning trees and summer flowering shrubs (beautyberry and butterfly bush) and vines. Don’t prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines until after spring bloom.
• Cool-season vegetables like carrots, radish, mustards, turnips, spinach, garden peas, and snow peas can be direct sown in mid-February.
• Set out transplants of broccoli, collards, cabbage, lettuces, parsley, cilantro, and Swiss chard from late February to early March.
• Sow native milkweed seed directly in outdoor soil for natural stratification before seed breaks dormancy when soil temperature warms in spring.
Indoors in February sow summer herb and vegetables in soilless potting mix. • Add compost, aged manure, and organic matter to fallow vegetable beds.
• Cut back brown, dead stems and leaves of perennials and ornamental grasses before new growth starts.
• By late February fertilize perennials to supply nutrients for new growth.
• Prune fruit trees like apple, cherry, berry bushes, and grape vines.
• Start the 2019 garden journal as winter honeysuckle, quince, paperwhites, and apricot blossom.
• Tour botanical gardens to see which plants look best in winter.
• Clean and sterilize bird nesting boxes and bird feeding and water stations.
• Mount bluebird nesting boxes by early February.
• Indoors wash and repot houseplants. Turn plants periodically for even growth.
Clean and sharpen tools in winter. While toiling away, take time to enjoy the winter wonders surrounding you like river birch bark, lenticels on Japanese cherries, the winter rose Camellia japonicas, and spring bulbs peeking up at you.
- The Secrets Of Winterizing Your Garden
- Prepare the Garden for Its Winter Slumber
- Preparing The Garden For Winter
- Using a Shed as a Garden Office
- How to Plan and Successfully Grow Your Tulip Garden
- Spring is Around the Corner - How is Your Garden?
- Spring Flower Gardening
- You Can Grow Your Own Herb Garden - Part 1
- Improve Your Yard and Garden With an ATV Plow
- Water Gardens - How to Build a Pond